Failing to plan, is planning to fail. – Benjamin Franklin
Goal setting… A way to reach for your dreams. As a former teacher part of my job was to teach kids to believe in themselves and I enjoyed teaching how to set goals and stick to them. It’s true, many of us have a clear vision of where we want our lives to be. Yet, finding the next step on that path can prove to be difficult. Although research shows many New Year’s goals go to the wayside by February, studies also show people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
Many goals are financial, personal or health-related; whatever it is you want to work on, you will need to set up a plan of action. In my post below, I will teach you how to set goals with three examples. Use my examples to start your own plan of action! Don’t worry if you fail, you can always adjust your goals down the road and learn from this. You can do this!
Here is a free Goal-setting Printable PDF to help you on your journey! Goal Setting
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Setting the Stage Your Epic Goal Setting Plan:
In college, I gained around 35 pounds of unwanted weight (too many late night Taco Bell runs and stuffing myself with dorm food). O.K. maybe a beer here and there too…Above all, I knew that I didn’t feel good about myself. My clothes fit uncomfortably and unfortunately, I didn’t have money to buy more.
In addition, I felt like my health was spiraling out of control. I was sick all the time, felt sluggish and with all the stressful homework and studying, I continued to use food as my comfort.
I decided to take a hard look at what I was doing. My first year, I gained around 15 pounds. Yes, the freshman 15. My second year, I gained 15 more…the sophomore 30. (Is that a thing?) The last 5, I don’t know where they came from but I was ready for a change. It was time to take action with my epic goal setting plan!
If you are in a similar situation with weight, finance or anything else you are looking to improve, you are in the right place and you’ve got this. Use my goal setting plan to help improve your situation.
While writing out your goals make sure they are measurable and achievable. Be realistic and don’t write something that will set you up for failure. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps.
Get Down to Goal Setting Business
As I looked in the mirror and saw a different version of myself I didn’t recognize, I knew a change was imminent. On that day, I got out a pen and pad and decided to make a plan. Next, I wrote down some ideas that would hopefully pave my path to fitness.
Working out was definitely in my goal plan. Luckily, I was able to use the school gym for free. Meanwhile, I set some goals for myself to achieve better health.
I used my epic goal setting and wrote down my plan of action. Furthermore, I set some short and long-term goals. By the same token, breaking up my goal setting made it more obtainable. Writing it down made it more complete.
Nonetheless, you can do the same for any goal you are trying to obtain. Follow my Epic Goal Setting Action Plan below. I have included three examples for you to follow.
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Free Goal Setting PDF: Goal Setting
My goal setting looked like this:
Goal Setting Example #1
Long-Term Goal: Be Healthier
Short Term Goal: Lose 10 pounds (35 would have been too much for my first phase of goal setting, so I kept it simple and obtainable).
- Step One: Work out at the student fitness center 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. (This is when I started my love for running.)
- Step Two: Cook low-calorie foods.
- Step Three: Check my weight on a scale once a week. (checking progress too much can discourage and set you up for failure. If I did not lose weight in the first few days, I may have felt discouraged and gave up.)
- Step Four: Keep a food journal and track my calories.
Check Progress: I will check my progress with weekly weight checks.
Timeline: Two months ( I recommend no longer than three months as a timeline.)
Note: I didn’t completely give up Taco Bell. Yet, I limited my visits to twice a month and I chose a lower calorie option like the bean burritto fresco style. Don’t deprive yourself or you will feel just that, deprived.
Related Posts: 15 Free and Frugal Workout Ideas
Notes on Goal Setting Example #1
As you can see, I wrote down my long-term goal, which is better health. Next, I broke it down into a short-term goal, which was to lose 10 pounds. (You can even add more short-term goals as needed.) I chose 10 pounds because it is something I knew I could obtain and it is measurable.
Choose short-term goals that are in your reach. You will feel like you are making progress and this will motivate you to continue.
Devise some steps that will help you with your outcome. When your time frame is up, check your progress and set another goal. – For me, at the time that would be to lose 10 more pounds.
Goal Setting Example #2
Long-Term Goal: Pay off debt (for a full budget plan check out Budgets 2017, New Year, New Budget)
Short term goal: (3-month plan): Reduce debt by $600
- Step One: Set aside $50 a week (at the end of 3 months you will have $600 to put down towards your debt or pay $200 monthly.
- Step Two: Ideas to save money (Where do I get $50 a week?)
A. Stop eating out
B. Eliminate gym membership
C. Do my manicure
D. Set up a cash budget for the next three months
Timeline: 3 months
After saving money and reducing spending, you will have $600 to pay down your debt. You may have to make sacrifices to pay off debt, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Note: Use an amount that will work for you and your budget.
Goal Setting Example #3
Long-Term Goal: Declutter my house(You will know this is a real goal of mine if you read my Blog Resolutions and action plan – 2017 post.)
Short Term Goal: Declutter my living room
- Step One: Put away the Christmas tree and ornaments.
- Step Two: Recycle old magazines. I either give them to my friends or put them in the recycling bin.
- Step Three: Buy four bins and put new toys away. Target had a sale on bins or I will check Home Depot.
- Step Four: I will clean out the toys hiding under my couch.
Timeline: Two weeks
Pretty soon, my living room will look normal again…Well, as normal as it can with a train table and toy workbench! I will then use my action plan to declutter my kitchen, bedroom and kid’s bedroom. In any case, I’m not going to add the garage to my action plan just yet because that will be an enormous undertaking.
Suggested Reading: How to Do your House in 25-Minutes Sessions Without Going Crazy
Goal Setting Check up time
If something was broke on your car, you would take it in for a checkup. If you had a bad cough you would see your doctor. Similarly, if you have something else that needs fixing in your life, set aside time and give yourself a goal checkup.
Goal Setting Progress Report
Finally, the last phase of my goal setting plan is to check progress. I am doing smaller checks-ins when I check my weight each week or check that I saved $200 at the end of each month. Yet, checking-in to many times may lead you to believe you are not making progress. Also, things that are worth accomplishing take time and are truly worth the wait…And for the record, I did lose that weight!
Why Use Goal Setting?
My friends, goal setting isn’t a new thing. We do it all the time. However, this method just requires you to write out your goal into a long and short-term format and map out a plan of action. Without a doubt in my mind, you will be a better version of you, if you use my formula!
As a teacher, goal setting is something I worked on with students year after year. In the classroom, we would create and revisit behavior and academic goals for each student. I would tell my “well-behaved” students there is always something you can improve. For example, maybe you want to read more at home. Additionally, even if you are quiet, maybe you need to pay more attention. There is always something we can work on! We are not perfect, just human.
Furthermore, after each marking period, the students looked at the goals they set for themselves. Moreover, they would set a similar more obtainable goal if they didn’t make progress. If they achieved the goal they would set a new one. In the same way, if you check progress and are still not there, revisit the same goal. However, if you achieved your goal, set a new one!
Goal Setting Conclusion:
Research shows it takes 21 days to form a habit. Continue, little by little and step by step. Take baby steps and only set a few goals at a time. Do not go overboard. Eventually, you will meet your goals and be ready to set new ones.
At times, I get so excited and ambitious about goal setting that I overload and overwhelm myself and nothing gets accomplished. Therefore, only set out to change one or two things in your life at a time and you will be more likely to succeed.
Day by day, month by month, year by year, you will become a better more content version of yourself. Wishing you all the best!
What goals are you working on in 2018? Leave me a comment or a question. I would love to hear from you.
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